Attack on Titan

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Attack on Titan
Shingeki no Kyojin manga volume 1.jpg
Cover art of the first volume of the manga
進撃の巨人
(Shingeki no Kyojin)
GenreDark fantasy, Dystopian, Tragedy
Manga
Written byHajime Isayama
Published byKodansha
English publisher
DemographicShōnen
MagazineBessatsu Shōnen Magazine
Original runSeptember 9, 2009 – ongoing
Volumes12 (List of volumes)
Light novel
Attack on Titan: Before the Fall
Written byRyō Suzukaze
Illustrated byThores Shibamoto
Published byKodansha
English publisher
DemographicMale
Original runDecember 2, 2011 – ongoing
Volumes3
Manga
Attack on Titan: Junior High
Written byHajime Isayama, Saki Nakagawa
Illustrated bySaki Nakagawa
Published byKodansha
English publisher
DemographicShōnen
MagazineBessatsu Shōnen Magazine
Original runApril 9, 2012 – ongoing
Volumes3 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed byTetsurō Araki
Written byYasuko Kobayashi
Music byHiroyuki Sawano
StudioWit Studio
Production I.G (production cooperation)
Licensed by
NetworkMBS, Tokyo MX, FBS, TOS, HTB, TVA, BS11
Original runApril 6, 2013September 28, 2013[Note 1]
Episodes25 + 2 OVA (List of episodes)
Manga
Attack on Titan: Before the Fall
Written bySatoshi Shiki
Published byKodansha
English publisher
DemographicShōnen
MagazineMonthly Shōnen Sirius
Original runAugust 26, 2013 – ongoing
Volumes1 (List of volumes)
Manga
Attack on Titan Gaiden: Kuinaki Sentaku
Written byGan Sunaaku
Illustrated byHikaru Suruga
Published byKodansha
English publisher
DemographicShōjo
MagazineAria
Original runSeptember 28, 2013 – ongoing
Video games
  • Attack on Titan: The Wings of Counterattack
  • Attack on Titan: Lost in the Cruel World
  • Attack on Titan: The Last Wings of Mankind
  • Attack on Titan: A Choice With No Regrets
  • Attack on Titan: In the Forest of the Night, Burning Brigh
  • Attack on Titan: Wall Sina, Goodbye
  • Attack on Titan: The Wings of Counterattack - Online
Live-action film
Directed byShinji Higuchi
Written byYūsuke Watanabe
StudioToho
Released2015 (2015)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal
 
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Attack on Titan
Shingeki no Kyojin manga volume 1.jpg
Cover art of the first volume of the manga
進撃の巨人
(Shingeki no Kyojin)
GenreDark fantasy, Dystopian, Tragedy
Manga
Written byHajime Isayama
Published byKodansha
English publisher
DemographicShōnen
MagazineBessatsu Shōnen Magazine
Original runSeptember 9, 2009 – ongoing
Volumes12 (List of volumes)
Light novel
Attack on Titan: Before the Fall
Written byRyō Suzukaze
Illustrated byThores Shibamoto
Published byKodansha
English publisher
DemographicMale
Original runDecember 2, 2011 – ongoing
Volumes3
Manga
Attack on Titan: Junior High
Written byHajime Isayama, Saki Nakagawa
Illustrated bySaki Nakagawa
Published byKodansha
English publisher
DemographicShōnen
MagazineBessatsu Shōnen Magazine
Original runApril 9, 2012 – ongoing
Volumes3 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed byTetsurō Araki
Written byYasuko Kobayashi
Music byHiroyuki Sawano
StudioWit Studio
Production I.G (production cooperation)
Licensed by
NetworkMBS, Tokyo MX, FBS, TOS, HTB, TVA, BS11
Original runApril 6, 2013September 28, 2013[Note 1]
Episodes25 + 2 OVA (List of episodes)
Manga
Attack on Titan: Before the Fall
Written bySatoshi Shiki
Published byKodansha
English publisher
DemographicShōnen
MagazineMonthly Shōnen Sirius
Original runAugust 26, 2013 – ongoing
Volumes1 (List of volumes)
Manga
Attack on Titan Gaiden: Kuinaki Sentaku
Written byGan Sunaaku
Illustrated byHikaru Suruga
Published byKodansha
English publisher
DemographicShōjo
MagazineAria
Original runSeptember 28, 2013 – ongoing
Video games
  • Attack on Titan: The Wings of Counterattack
  • Attack on Titan: Lost in the Cruel World
  • Attack on Titan: The Last Wings of Mankind
  • Attack on Titan: A Choice With No Regrets
  • Attack on Titan: In the Forest of the Night, Burning Brigh
  • Attack on Titan: Wall Sina, Goodbye
  • Attack on Titan: The Wings of Counterattack - Online
Live-action film
Directed byShinji Higuchi
Written byYūsuke Watanabe
StudioToho
Released2015 (2015)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人 Shingeki no Kyojin?, lit. "Advancing Giants") is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. The series began serialization in Kodansha's Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine on September 9, 2009, and has been collected into 12 tankōbon volumes as of December 9, 2013. It is set in a world where humanity lives inside cities surrounded by enormous walls due to the Titans, gigantic humanoid creatures who devour humans seemingly without reason. The story centers on Eren Yeager, his adoptive sister Mikasa Ackerman, and their friend Armin Arlert, whose lives are changed forever after the appearance of a colossal titan brings about the destruction of their home town and the death of Eren's mother. Vowing revenge and to reclaim the world from the Titans, Eren, Mikasa and Armin join the Survey Corps, an elite group of soldiers who fight Titans outside the walls.

A spin-off light novel series began in December 2011, and has received a manga adaptation. Two additional spin-off manga series are also being serialized, and a television anime adaptation produced by Wit Studio and Production I.G aired in Japan on MBS between April and September 2013. Four video game adaptations developed by Nitroplus staffers in collaboration with Production I.G were announced to be released as bonus content for the third and sixth volumes of the Blu-ray Disc release of the anime, with another game developed by Spike Chunsoft for the Nintendo 3DS. A live action film adaptation is also in production and set to premiere in 2015.[1] Attack on Titan and all three spin-off manga are published in North America by Kodansha Comics USA, while the novels will be published by Vertical. The anime has been licensed by Funimation for North America, and by Manga Entertainment for the United Kingdom and Australasia.

Attack on Titan has become a commercial success, with over 28 million volumes in circulation as of 2013. The release of the anime also saw a boost in the series' popularity, with it having received critical acclaim for its atmosphere and story. Although it also gained fame in neighboring Asian countries, the series' themes have been a subject of controversy.

Overview[edit]

Setting[edit]

One hundred years prior to the beginning of the story, giant humanoid creatures called Titans (巨人 Kyojin?) have nearly wiped out humanity. What remains of humanity now resides within a country surrounded by three concentric walls, Wall Maria (ウォール・マリア Wōru Maria?, outermost), Wall Rose (ウォール・ローゼ Wōru Rōze?, middle), and Wall Sina (ウォール・シーナ Wōru Shīna?, innermost). Inside these walls, humanity lived in peace for one hundred years, until one day a gigantic sixty-meter Titan mysteriously appeared and breached the outermost wall, allowing many smaller titans to enter and begin killing humans again. Mankind is forced to abandon the land between Wall Maria and Wall Rosé, resulting in turmoil and famine.

Very little is known about the Titans and their origins. All that is known is that they are giant humanoids that vary between 3 and 15 meters in height, and they instinctively attack and devour ordinary humans on sight. However, they apparently do not require food for sustenance, as they do not prey on other animals, surviving the century beyond the walls even with the long absence of humans, and apparently gain their energy directly from sunlight. They have hard skin and regenerative abilities, and can only be killed by a deep incision at the base of the neck. This weakness led to the development of the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment (立体機動装置 Rittai Kidō Sōchi?), allowing humans to navigate quickly in a three-dimensional space. Although it permits great mobility to a skilled user, it carries a large risk of overtaxing the muscles, requiring extensive physical conditioning and agility.

Plot[edit]

The series follows the story of Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman, and their friend Armin Arlert. After the outermost Wall is breached by Titans, including the 60-meter tall skinless Colossus Titan and the abnormally intelligent Armored Titan, and his mother dying in the resulting destruction, Eren vows revenge against the Titans and later enlists in the military, accompanied by Mikasa and Armin. Years later during his first battle against the Titans, Eren discovers that he has the ability to transform into a Titan at will. Seen as a threat to mankind by some, and as a ray of hope by others, Eren joins his companions in a desperate fight to protect what remains of their society while looking for answers to the mysteries surrounding the Titans, the Walls, and his own existence as well.

Production[edit]

Hajime Isayama first wrote a 65-page one-shot version of Attack on Titan back in 2006.[2] Before serialization, he had already thought of ideas for twists although they are fleshed out when he is working on them. While working at an internet cafe, Isayama encountered a customer who grabbed him by the collar. It was this incident that showed him "the fear of meeting a person one can not communicate with," which is the feeling that he conveys through the Titans.[3] When designing their appearances, he uses several models such as martial artist Yushin Okami for the protagonist Eren Yeager's Titan form[4] as well as Brock Lesnar for the Armored Titan.[5] The "Wall of Fear" is reportedly said to have been influenced by Japanese culture as due to their people becoming very isolated and enclosed. The people's inner feelings is one of the series' main influences.[6] The author estimated his basic monthly timeline as one week to storyboard and two weeks to actually draw the chapter. Isayama said he has the story planned out fairly far in advance, even marking down in which collected volumes a specific "truth" will be revealed.[4] In September 2013, he stated that he is aiming to end the series in 20 collected volumes.[7] Originally, Isayama planned to give the series a tragic conclusion based on Stephen King's The Mist. However, critical response to the manga and anime series caused the author to change his mind in regards to the ending due to the impact it could give to the readers.[8]

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

The manga series began its serialization in Kodansha's monthly publication Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine in its September 2009 issue. The first tankōbon volume was released on March 17, 2010, with 12 volumes released as of December 9, 2013.[9] As of December 2013, the manga had 28 million copies in circulation in Japan.[10] The series' twelfth collected volume was given a first printing of 2.2 million copies, making Attack on Titan only the second manga series ever to get an initial print surpassing 2 million.[10]

A comedic spin-off of the series, titled Attack on Titan: Junior High (進撃!巨人中学校 Shingeki! Kyojin Chūgakkō?) and written by Saki Nakagawa, began serialization in Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine's May 2012 issue. It follows the main characters as they battle the Titans while in junior high school.[11] Another manga series based on the prequel light novel Attack on Titan: Before the Fall started running in Kodansha's Monthly Shōnen Sirius from August 2013, drawn by Satoshi Shiki.[12] An additional spin-off based on the A Choice With No Regrets visual novel began serialization in Aria, titled Attack on Titan Gaiden: Kuinaki Sentaku (進撃の巨人 悔いなき選択?) it is written by Gan Sunaaku and illustrated by Hikaru Suruga. It focuses on the origins of Levi, one of the most prominent characters in the main series.[13] Kodansha announced they are increasing Aria's print count by roughly 500% because of the demand for the prologue chapter, which was published before the manga's serialization began in the November 28, 2013 issue.[14]

In North America, the series is published in English by Kodansha Comics USA. They published the first volume on June 19, 2012,[15] with 9 volumes released as of November 26, 2013.[16] In October 2013, the manga reached the mark of 500,000 copies in North America.[17] All three spin-off manga have also been licensed by Kodansha Comics USA, who will publish the first volume of each in spring 2014 and summer 2014.[18][19]

Light novel[edit]

A light novel series titled Attack on Titan: Before the Fall (進撃の巨人 Before the fall?), written by Ryō Suzukaze and illustrated by Thores Shibamoto, began on December 2, 2011. Its story is set before the events of the manga and it is published by Kodansha. Three volumes have been published so far. While the first tells the story of Angel, the blacksmith who develops the first prototypes of the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment, the following two follow a young man who was found as a baby in the stomach of a Titan. Vertical will release the novels in North America from summer 2014.[20][21]

Anime[edit]

An anime television series adaptation produced by Wit Studio (a subsidiary of IG Port) aired on MBS between April 6, 2013 and September 28, 2013, directed by Tetsurō Araki.[22][23][24][25] Both Funimation and Crunchyroll simulcast the series on their respective websites, and Funimation intends to release the series on North American home video in 2014.[26][27] The anime has been licensed in the UK and Australasia by Manga Entertainment. An OVA version of the "Ilse's Notebook" special chapter from tankōbon volume 5 was originally scheduled to be released on August 9, 2013, bundled with the volume 11 limited edition, but was postponed and included with a limited edition of volume 12, released on December 9, 2013, instead.[28] A second OVA was announced to be released on April 9, 2014, bundled with the 13th volume of the series, this one focused on the members of the 104th Training Corps.[29]

For the first thirteen episodes, the opening theme is "Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen" (紅蓮の弓矢 Guren no Yumiya?, lit. "Crimson Bow and Arrow") by Linked Horizon whilst the ending theme is "Utsukushiki Zankoku na Sekai" (美しき残酷な世界?, lit. "This Beautiful Cruel World") by Yōko Hikasa. For episodes 14-25, the opening theme is "Die Flügel der Freiheit" (自由の翼 Jiyū no Tsubasa?, lit. "Wings of Freedom") by Linked Horizon whilst the ending theme is "great escape" by Cinema Staff. Both "Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen" and "Die Flügel der Freiheit" were released as part of the single "Jiyū e no Shingeki" on July 10, 2013.[30][31]

Video games[edit]

There have been four video game adaptations of Attack on Titan developed by Nitroplus staffers in collaboration with Production I.G.[32] Nitroplus clarified that the studio as a company is not involved in the Attack on Titan Blu-ray Disc games, while individual staffers are.[33] The games are visual novels and were included in the first copies of the third and sixth Blu-ray Disc volumes of the anime. The games cover spin-off stories about the characters of Attack on Titan. Hajime Isayama himself is supervising the development of the games.

The third Blu-ray volume was released on September 18 with Seko's Lost in the Cruel World visual novel about Mikasa, and a preview of Gan Saaku's A Choice With No Regrets (悔いなき選択 Kuinaki Sentaku?).[34] The sixth Blu-ray volume was released on December 18 with the full version of A Choice With No Regrets about Levi and Erwin's past, Jin Haganeya's visual novel In the Forest of the Night, Burning Bright about Eren and Levi, and Seko's Wall Sina, Goodbye visual novel about Annie.[34]

An action game, titled Attack on Titan: The Last Wings of Mankind (進撃の巨人 ~反撃の翼~ Shingeki no Kyojin ~Hangeki no Tsubasa~?, subtitle lit. "Wings of Counterattack"), was developed by Spike Chunsoft for the Nintendo 3DS and released on December 5, 2013.[35][36][37]

Film[edit]

A live-action film is in production. In December 2012, it was reported that Tetsuya Nakashima has left his position as director of the live-action film. According to film distributor Toho, Nakashima had considerable creative differences on the scriptwriting and other matters.[38][39][40] In December 2013 Shinji Higuchi was revealed to be directing, and be also responsible for special effects. Yūsuke Watanabe (live action Gantz, 20th Century Boys and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods) and critic/subculture expert Tomohiro Machiyama will be scripting the movie. This movie will begin filming in summer 2014 for a planned summer 2015 release.[41][42]

Other media[edit]

Two guidebooks to the manga titled Inside and Outside were released on April 9 and September 9, 2013, featuring concept art, character profiles and interviews.[43][44] They will be combined into one and released in North America in summer 2014 by Kodansha USA.[18]

A 16-minute drama CD was created with the anime's staff and included in the January 2014 issue of Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine.[45]

Reception[edit]

Attack on Titan won the Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category in 2011,[46][47] and was nominated for both the 4th annual Manga Taishō award and the 16th annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.[48][49] The 2012 edition of Kono Manga ga Sugoi!, which surveys people in the manga and publishing industry, named Attack on Titan the eighth best manga series for male readers,[50] while the 2014 edition named it the sixth best.[51] Six of the seven English volumes published in North America at the time charted on The New York Times Manga Best Seller list for the week of October 13, 2013, and volume one has been on the list for 30 weeks straight.[52][53] Volume one was also number one on Nielsen BookScan's list of top 20 graphic novels in American bookstores for October 2013,[54] and for the month of September, the series had more volumes on the list than any other series.[55] The Young Adult Library Services Association in the United States named the series one of its "Great Graphic Novels for Teens".[56] Attack on Titan was the second highest selling manga series of 2013, with 15,933,801 copies sold in a year.[57] As of July 2013, the series had sold over 22 million copies in Japan.[3] The anime is noted to have helped in boosting the series' sales while Mainichi Shimbun called it a "once-in-a-decade hit."[58]

Many have analyzed Attack on Titan as representing "the hopelessness felt by young people in today's society."[59] while writer Mao Yamawaki called it a "coming-of-age story of the boys and girls at its core," with a new mystery every episode. It is these mysteries that critic Tomofusa Kure says amplifies readers' expectations. The artwork of the manga has been criticized as crude by some reviewers, with Isayama himself admitting his drawings are "amateurish." However, those same critics stated that after years of serialization, the art has been improving, and Kure believes that had the illustrations been "refined", it would not have conveyed the "eeriness" that is a key characteristic of the work.[59]

The anime has won multiple prizes during the 3rd Newtype Anime Awards, including best director, best script, best soundtrack, runner-up for commercial, best theme song, top female character, and title of the year.[60] Carl Kimlinger from Anime News Network was sharply critical of the first two episodes of the anime adaptation. He did praise the show for "[bringing] back the terror of the fee-fi-fo-fum set", but then said that it "does not a good show make". Kimlinger criticized Araki's direction, saying he "clearly intends it to be powerful and unsettling, but it's just crude and unpleasant."[61] On the other hand, other critics from Anime News Network praised much of the series. Rebecca Silverman said it "is both gorgeous and appalling in its visuals", and "an excellent mix of what 18th century Gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe defined as horror versus terror: the one is physical, making you want to look away, and the other is intellectual, making you want to know what's going to happen next."[62] Though there are several apocalyptic action shows, Carlo Santos noted that "few get as close to perfection as Attack on Titan does". Santos described it as "a masterpiece of death and destruction" even if he only watched the first episode.[63] Theron Martin praised the musical score and the "intense, impactful first episode" despite he felt it has "limited animation". Martin also compared Attack on Titan's vibe and visual aesthetic to Claymore.[64]

The series has also gained popularity in neighboring Asian countries. For instance, coverage of the anime appeared on the front page of the Hong Kong free Chinese newspaper am730 on May 27, 2013, concerning its popularity within Hong Kong as well as China and Taiwan.[65] However, the series also attracted criticism: the South Korean Electronic Times magazine accused Attack on Titan for having a militaristic message that serves Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's political leanings;[66] while the series also resonated with Hong Kong youths who saw the invading Titans as a metaphor for Mainland China.[65] Hong Kong media commentator Wong Yeung Tat praised Hajime Isayama's style and the versatility of Attack on Titan's setting, which opens itself to the readers' various interpretations.[67] In 2013, after media linked to a 2010 blog post by Isayama indicating that the design of the character Dot Pixis was based on that of the Imperial Japanese General Akiyama Yoshifuru, an Internet flame war about the general's war record ensued on his blog, including death threats to Isayama.[68]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As Attack on Titan aired in MBS's Saturday 25:58 (Sunday 1:58 am JST) time slot, the premiere technically occurred on Sunday, April 7, 2013.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SFX Director Shinji Higuchi to Helm Live-Action Attack on Titan Film". Anime News Network. 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  2. ^ "1st Attack on Titan Blu-ray/DVD to Bundle Manga 'Prototype'". Anime News Network. 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  3. ^ a b "'Attack on Titan' author expresses fears through popular boys' manga". Asahi Shimbun. 2013-07-20. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  4. ^ a b "Interview with Attack on Titan Creator Hajime Isayama". MTV. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  5. ^ Isayama, Hajime (2013-04-17). "アクセス数がすごい!". Blog.livedoor.jp. Retrieved 2013-05-19. 
  6. ^ "Interview: George Wada, Producer of Attack on Titan". Anime News Network. July 23, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Attack on Titan Creator Aims to End Manga in 20 Volumes". Anime News Network. 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  8. ^ "「進撃の巨人」の漫画家、諫山創インタビュー! トラウマという財産!? 人生観と漫画創作が濃密に交わる諫山創の視点とは?" (in Japanese). White Screen. December 4, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013. 
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  11. ^ "Attack on Titan Manga Inspires Comedy Spinoff Manga". Anime News Network. 2012-04-13. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
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  49. ^ "16th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize Nominees Announced". Anime News Network. 2012-02-10. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
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  51. ^ "Top Manga Ranked by Kono Manga ga Sugoi 2014 Voters". Anime News Network. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
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  53. ^ "New York Times Manga Best Seller List, December 29-January 4". Anime News Network. 2014-01-10. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  54. ^ "Attack on Titan Tops Graphic Novels in U.S. Bookstores in October". Anime News Network. 2013-11-07. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  55. ^ "5 Attack on Titan Graphic Novels Land in U.S. Bookstores' Top 20 in September". Anime News Network. 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
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